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Embellish a Box for Gifts

Embellish a Box for Gifts main article image
Posted on April 24, 2021 by Jan Hunter

A little bit of paint, some DIY “Thickers” and additional embellishments make a huge impact when using a plain dollar store gift box. Which is the perfect base for this fun project. 

Gather your supplies:

  • Box, top and bottom (must be sturdy)
  • Paint (Liquitex Black paint)
  • Cardstock (black, white)
  • Display fonts of choice (Creative Fabrica has lots to choose from)
  • Alcohol markers (Ohuhu) or Jacquard fabric stencil pain
  • Mod-Podge Glossy finish
  • Foam brush
  • Electronic Cutting machine (Sizzix eclips 2 and eCal3 were used in this project)
  • Glue, Xyron (permanent adhesive), E6000
  • Pop up strips
  • Mica or Pearl Ex (optional)

Let’s get started

These work up pretty fast – so don’t be afraid to set up to do several at the same time. The gift boxes purchased come in a package of 3 – different sizes. The box used in this project is approximately 5.5 inches wide and 4 inches tall. About ½ inch deep. Perfect to gift some jewelry or a couple of gift cards for the lucky recipient. 

Remove any dust from the box with a dry cloth. Paint the outside surfaces of the top and bottom of the box with a light coat of the black paint using the foam brush. Do not add any water to the paint. Let dry. If needed, apply a second coat. This box only required one coat with the full body paint that was used. 

Choose your font from one of the many display  or graffiti fonts on Creative Fabrica. You’ll find lots of bold and chunky fun fonts in a search. Select your font, download and unzip. Open your cutting machine’s software and begin typing your word.  “Cheers” and “Awesome” were chosen for this post. 

After typing the word out on your mat, ungroup and adjust the size as desired. Make sure your word is about 1 inch smaller than the width of the top of the box. If desired, add a small rectangle between the letters and weld the rectangles to the word.  This allows you to cut the word as one piece and not as separate letters. At this point, copy and paste at least 2 additional copies of the images. Cut two pieces from the black cardstock and cut one using the white cardstock. You should have at least a total of 3 layers for your thicker — however, (you can cut up to 6 layers of the black to create a chipboard look). Run all but one of the black cuts through the Xyron machine for full adhesive coverage (or you can glue using your favorite glue and a fine tipped applicator to adhere the layers together). Stack the black layers one on top of the other as a base. Set aside.

Here’s where the fun begins! Using some bold colors, color the white cardstock.  For this sample, Jacquard fabric stencil paint was used.  2 coats were applied. * You can use alcohol or permanent markers if you don’t want to paint. Make sure you’re using bold colors. You want the word to really pop out against the black paint on the box!

Let dry a couple of hours. If your paper has wrinkled or warped, you can press it with an iron (no steam) using some parchment or copy paper between the cut and the iron.  Run this piece through the Xyron and carefully add to the stack of black pieces you created earlier.  Your DIY thicker is ready! 

If you only have 3 pieces in your stack, you can add some pop-up strips to the back.  Leave the pop-up strip backing  on for right now. 

Embellish the lid

Let’s finish getting that box ready! Embellish the box lid as desired. Some cut paper ribbon streamers were added, and a few stars were painted on the lid and sides of the box lid. Make sure that any paint or glue is dried before moving to the next step. 

Want a glossy finish? Add a small amount of pearl mica or Pearl Ex to a dollop of the glossy Mod-Podge and blend in using a toothpick or stir stick. Apply a coat to the top of the box with a foam brush. Make sure you get all the nooks and crannies of the streamers as well. The Pearl Ex or mica will add a little bit of shimmer to the top of the box. Let dry. Brush a coat of the Mod-Podge on the word before attaching to the box lid. Let dry.    

Adhere the word to the top of the box. Use some E600 glue to adhere to the box lid.

Non paint version

*Don’t want to paint? No problem! 

As mentioned above, you can sse alcohol markers or a permanent marker like a Sharpie. OR … Grab a fun paper background image from one of your favorite Creative Fabrica collections and fill the word with the pattern as in the example below. You can also cut each letter out separately in different colors of paper or add texture and images using pattern fill to each letter – use your print 2 cut setting in your machine’s software.

 (the image used to fill the Cheers was from the 30 Graffity Grunge Walls Overlays found here)      

Make a few extra “thickers” for upcoming events – holidays or just because!  These are just waiting to be colored or a pattern filled image to be added! 

DIY thickers are great to use as embellishments for cards, scrapbook pages, tags and more. Create a stack of  “thicker” words and painted boxes at the ready! Then, add a gift card, a hand crafted piece of jewelry or another meaningful gift for the recipient and your gift is ready for delivery! 

We’d love to see your makes, so be sure to share.  You can visit Jan’s author page or blog for more ideas and inspiration. 

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Embellish a Box for Gifts

Joyce Migliore

April 25, 2021

Fun project Jan!!

Jan Hunter's profile picture
Jan Hunter

April 25, 2021


Thanks, Joyce. Hope you have a wonderful creative day!

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